Footballer Atsu was found dead in the earthquake

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Footballer Atsu was found dead in the earthquake


Former Ghana international Christian Atsu The deaths were found on Saturday, almost two weeks after a devastating earthquake in Turkey.

Atsu, 31, was caught in a 7.8-magnitude earthquake that shook Turkey and Syria on February 6, killing more than 43,000 people in both countries.

There were initial reports that the former Chelsea and Newcastle man was rescued the day after the earthquake, but these appeared to be false.

His boss in Turkey, Murat Uzunmehmet, told the DHA news agency on Saturday that his body was found under the rubble of collapsed apartments in the southern Turkish province of Hatay.

“We have reached his lifeless body. His things are still being removed. His phone was also found,” Uzunmehmet told DHA.

Ghana’s ministry of foreign affairs said it had “received the unfortunate news”.

“The older brother and twin sister of Christian Atsu and an official of the (Ghanaian) embassy were at the site when the body was recovered,” the department said in a statement.

Ghana said it is working with the Turkish government to arrange the transport of the body back to Atsu country for burial.

Midfielder Atsu scored the last of his 33 goals for Hatayspor in Turkey’s Super Lig on February 5, hours before the earthquake struck.

“There are no words to describe our sadness,” his Turkish club tweeted.

“We will not forget you Atsu. May you be blessed, beautiful person”.

Early in his career he spent four seasons at Chelsea, mostly on loan, before making a permanent move to Newcastle in 2017.

Chelsea issued a statement declaring: “It is with great sadness that Chelsea Football Club received the news that Christian Atsu has been confirmed as one of the many victims of the terrible earthquake in Turkey and Syria.”

Newcastle also paid tribute to “a talented player and a special person”.

The club added: “He will always be remembered by our players, staff and supporters.

“First joining on loan, he played a key role in the Magpies squad that secured the Championship title in 2017 before making a permanent move to help us re-establish our place in the Premier League .”

On the international stage Atsu got the first of his 65 senior caps against Ghana in 2012.

At the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations he scored a hat-trick in a 3-0 win over Guinea in the quarter-finals. The Black Stars reached the final, losing on penalties to Ivory Coast with Atsu picking up both the Player and Goal of the tournament awards.

He was also part of Ghana’s team at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.


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